Recreational marijuana became legal to purchase in Nevada last week, and as one might expect of the state home to a place colloquially known as “Sin City,” there was a market for the drug. Quite a big market, in fact. So big that the state is already running out of weed, forcing the governor to declare a state of emergency.
Between July 1 and 4, 47 stores selling legal weed conducted a total of 40,000 transactions, resulting in around $3 million worth of sales. That’s resulted in sellers blowing through their stock, unable to keep up with demand. Dispensaries were granted a one-time permission to use their medical marijuana to sell opening weekend, but after that, liquor distributors had exclusive rights to supply marijuana to dispensaries for the first year and a half of legalization. The only problem is none of them wanted to.
In May, one month before legalization was to go into effect, the Department of Taxation tried to open up distribution to other businesses, only to see liquor suppliers change their minds and sue to keep their first dibs. Since then, seven liquor distributors have applied for licenses, but as we all know, government is slow, and none have yet to be approved, leaving dispensaries with no option to re-up.
Governor Brian Sandoval endorsed a statement of emergency to expand who can supply pot to the state’s dispensaries, citing potential for the fledgling industry’s growth. “Unless the issue with distributor licensing is resolved quickly,” Sandoval said, “the inability to deliver product to the retail stores will result in many of these employees losing their jobs and will cause this nascent industry to grind to a halt.”
Not clear whether “grind to a halt” is a weed pun, but hopefully everything works out for the state. Surely somebody in Vegas knows a guy.
Story by Drew Salisbury